A. P. POGREBINSKY. Russia's Financial Position on the Eve of the October Revolution
In the opening part of his article A. P. Pogrebinsky gives a brief characteristic of the difficult financial situation obtaining in Russia by the outbreak of the bourgeois- democratic revolution of February 1917. A. P. Pogrebinsky draws the conclusion that the Provisional Government's financial policy was essentially based on the old principles. The inflated and costly state apparatus was fully retained and a number of new and absolutely useless bureaucratic institutions were established. Huge sums were allocated .to support the monopoly bourgeoisie by. granting it diverse loans and subsidies to cover the cost of war contracts at jacked-up prices.
The author further notes that in the post-February period continued prosecution of the war was financed by the old methods inherited from the tsarist regime: taxation, loans and emission of paper money. However, the Provisional Government was no longer in a position to finance the mounting war expenditure and the requirements of the state simultaneously. The centre of gravity in the policy of taxation was shifted to indirect taxes, which impose a particularly heavy burden on the popular masses. All attempts to obtain foreign loans proved unsuccessful because the allied states, despite their political sympathies for the Provisional Government, did not have much faith in the stability of its power and refrained from granting it new credits. The increasing emission of paper money was the main source of financing the war. The resultant inflation drastically dislocated the country's currency circulation, depreciated paper money and substantially reduced real wages. In conclusion A. P. Pogrebinsky writes that the Provisional Government's financial policy completely dislocated the country's financial system, further increased Russia's shackling dependence on foreign imperialism and was responsible for the unprecedented impoverishment of the working masses in town and country.
N. A. MANAKOV. The Economy of Leningrad in the Years of the Nazi Blockade
Attaching serious importance to a close study of the unique experience of organizing the normal functioning of a planned economy in a socialist city besieged by the enemy, the author makes an attempt to analyze certain specific features of Leningrad's economy during the blockade and disclose the main sources of strength which enabled its defenders to hold out against the powerful enemy and put up effective resistance in the grim and protracted struggle. The article points to the great possibilities latent in the active self-defence of a major industrial centre and to the obstacles that arose in the way of reorganizing production along military lines and converting Leningrad into an impregnable bastion.
The author analyzes the principles of industrial management, the peculiar forms and methods of organizing the economy in a front-line city which took shape in the difficult conditions of the siege and tight blockade. Much importance is attached by the author to the military centralization of the economy, to the reorganization of planning aimed at establishing an economic structure entirely subordinated to the needs of defence, to the maximum mobilization and stringent economy of the local resources, to the beneficial influence exerted on the economy by the moral and political factor, to the most rational and effective use of the advantages offered by the socialist system.
The article highlights the main stages of the struggle carried on by the beleaguered city against the enemy and the formidable difficulties created by the blockade. The author graphically shows that the extensive military and material assistance and moral support of the entire Soviet people, the self-sacrificing labour effort and supreme heroism of Leningrad's defenders played a decisive role in eliminating these difficulties.
V. I. KORETSKY. The Zemsky Sobor of 1575 and Partial Revival of the Oprichnina
V. I. Koretsky's article traces the dramatic events attending the convocation in the autumn of 1575, at the height of the Livonian war, of the Zemsky Sobor (National Assembly) for discussing major internal and external policy problems connected with the successful prosecution of this war. The Zemsky Sobor became the arena of the acute class struggle which developed in the 1560's - 1570's. The author draws the conclusion that at the 1575 Zemsky Sobor the feudal elements came out in resolute opposition to the policy of Ivan the Terrible. Representatives of the feudal aristocracy and the top church dignitaries were supported by prominent Oprichniks who had a better knowledge of the situation and were seriously disturbed by the protracted war and the resultant "economic ruination."
Ivan the Terrible paid no heed to the warnings and ruthlessly punished the recalcitrants. In the latter part of October 1575 he carried out mass executions among the discontented participants in the Zemsky Sobor. In the closing days of October he appointed Simeon Bekbulatovich to exercise the "Grand Reign," divided the entire territory of
the realm into "appanages" and the "zemshchina" and "instituted the oprichnina in forms closely resembling those that had existed in the period 1565 - 1572. The article traces the nature and scope of the measures carried out by Ivan the Terrible in 1575 - 1576, reveals their class tendency and substantiates the thesis on the further disintegration of the oprichnina.
The substantial strengthening of the autocratic rule attained by artificial and violent means at a time when the remnants of feudal disunity in the country were eradicated by essentially the same feudal means overstrained the country's strength and resulted in an appalling economic "ruination", in the growth of serfdom and the acute aggravation of class contradictions which precipitated a powerful peasant war in the opening part of the 17th century.
A. S. GROSSMAN. German-Italian Relations in 1939
Drawing on foreign and Soviet documentary publications and historical literature, the author graphically shows that relations between Germany and Italy, sealed by the pact of alliance and friendship signed in May 1939, were actually anything but friendly, despite all the efforts of reactionary bourgeois historiography to present them as amicable. German-Italian relations on the eve of the war were marred by definite political, economic and ideological differences and contradictions. The imperialist struggle which undermined and weakened the Berlin-Rome "axis" grew especially acute in the last months preceding fascist Germany's attack on Poland. Among other things, this struggle found expression in Italy's refusal to enter the war simultaneously with Germany. During the second world war too German-Italian relations were repeatedly marred by mutual hostility and tension, which ultimately led to the break- up of the alliance between these two powers.
L. A. BEREZNY. A Real Discovery or Deliberate Distortion?
The author makes a critical analysis of a "new look on modern history" proposea by Edwin O. Reischauer, graphically showing the utter insolvency of the methodology and conclusions of this prominent American historian and disclosing the epistemological and social roots of his conception. Adhering to the pluralist position, Reischauer refuses to define the nature of the interconnection existing between the economic and political development of society, proposing instead to analyze both aspects in isolation from each other, in different planes. This type of approach can only result in metaphysically abstracting the political system of society from its economic basis, in ignoring the socioeconomic nature and class structure of society. Reischauer unjustifiably tries to identify state-monopoly capitalism with socialism and simultaneously extend the conflicting tendencies of bourgeois democracy and totalitarianism - a phenomenon typical of capitalist states - to the entire process of contemporary historical development. Reischauer substitutes the real antithesis of the two social systems by a purely scholastic conception of convergence in economic and social development and divergence in political development, which he opposes to the Marxist-Leninist conception of the historical process.
V. M. MASSON. The Rise and Development of an Early Class Society in the Ancient East
Drawing on materials relating to the history of the ancient East and characterizing the rise and development of the earliest class formation in the world, the author traces the period of the early class society marked by the existence of a king, a bureaucratic administrative apparatus, economic privileges for the ruler and the aristocracy, and the appearance of a system of writing (pre-Sargonic Sumer, post-Yin China). These qualitatively new features distinguish the early class society from the primitive communal system, though this society as a whole and particularly its superstructure! elements are shot through with the persisting survivals of the primitive epoch. Qualitatively, the productive forces of early class societies do not significantly differ from the level attained in the last stage of the primitive communal system ("the handicraft period," to use the author's terminology). A close analysis of the dynamics of the productive forces and economy makes it possible to single out two paths in the rise and development of the early class society in the Ancient East: the Surnerian path, distinguished by a high degree of productivity of irrigated farming in the valleys of great rivers and by the emergence of the earliest class societies known to history (Southern areas enclosed between the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumer, Elain, Egypt and China), and the Anatolian path characterized by a far narrower scope of irrigation, much slower rates of development, stimulation of trade and handicrafts, and contacts with highly developed city civilizations (Asia Minor, Northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine).
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